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Recording with effects Yay or Nay?

Rich G.

Experienced
Despite having decades of stage experience, I'm a complete novice when it comes to recording. I've recently been asked to provide some guitar tracks for a local artist's recording. Would it be better to track the dry guitar and add effects later? I think of reverb as an overall effect so I don't plan on having any reverb on prior to tracking, but what about something like a dotted-eighth delay? Would I want to add that when I'm all done or do it live? What makes sense to me is any time based effects that would normally go after the amp like Delay/Chorus/Reverb should be added later, and any pre-amp effects like Comp/Phaser/Wah should be done live.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
No absolute rules, sometimes I do if I like how it sounds, other times dry if I know I might want to play with different stuff.

Also very easy to record a dry and wet track at the same time so you don’t even need to choose
 

Geezerjohn

Fractal Fanatic
No effects when recording. You can put effects in the headphones for a more inspired performance. Make careful notes on any effects you put in the headphones so you can get back to the sound you want at mixdown. Just my two cents.
 

JoKeR III

Power User
Despite having decades of stage experience, I'm a complete novice when it comes to recording. I've recently been asked to provide some guitar tracks for a local artist's recording. Would it be better to track the dry guitar and add effects later? I think of reverb as an overall effect so I don't plan on having any reverb on prior to tracking, but what about something like a dotted-eighth delay? Would I want to add that when I'm all done or do it live? What makes sense to me is any time based effects that would normally go after the amp like Delay/Chorus/Reverb should be added later, and any pre-amp effects like Comp/Phaser/Wah should be done live.
It all depends upon the purpose of or reason for using the effect.

Adding a dotted 1/8th delay after the fact, for example, may not work as well because, IMO and experience, the delay is part of the tone/style and the timing a lot of times is based upon the feel of the delay as you play. Same would apply for ambient tones. There's an interaction between the guitar, player and effect that really can't be reproduced after the fact.

If the purpose of the effect, like some reverb, delay, basic modulation and/or compression, is to polish the recording then post recording may be preferred because of the control you have over the effect.
 

fractalz

Power User
Post recording frees the mix engineer to apply dynamics processing without effecting reverb tails and delay repeats.

Otherwise, I agree with the above comment that some fx are part of the performance and can be captured.

Ultimate flexibility would be to record dry (or DI) but it adds more work later to re-add the fx.
 

1poorplayer

Power User
I’ve tried to replicate solos from old recordings , that were recorded WITH effects , and it can be a bitch to do. I agree with @Geezerjohn. Take notes.
Ideal ( IMO ) as stated above , is to record both a DI , and with effects - for feel and performance - and possibly the final take. The DI can be re-amped , cut , copied , or spliced , effects added , AND it will give you a visual in your DAW , so you can find the transients for a distorted guitar track quickly , if you need to edit.
 

Muad'zin

Fractal Fanatic
I've always recorded with effects, because I know what my guitar is supposed to sound like. I also prefer the sound of my own effects over the ones that can be added in post production. But I reckon it depends on the nature of the songs being recorded. If you're going to record your first album most bands tend to have their songs worked out pretty much, having played them for years. So they know every little detail of their songs. Little studio tweakery is needed other then record it well. If the song is new however, or being written while recording, then I reckon that its better to give full freedom to the engineer to work his magic and that dry can be better. Unless you happen to have found a sound FX that's absolutely crucial to the song.
 

Piing

Fractal Fanatic
I always record 2 guitar tracks: wet (Axe-FX) and dry.

Since my presets are already tuned for a particular song, normally I can use the wet take on the final mix. But if there is something that I have to re-adjust (e.g. reverb or delay) I reamp the dry signal and record a new wet track, processed through a new version of the preset,
 
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unix-guy

Legend!
I've always recorded with effects, because I know what my guitar is supposed to sound like. I also prefer the sound of my own effects
This... Exactly! :)

I work very hard to dial in all my effects to my liking and have my own "sonic fingerprint". Why would I want to hand that over to someone else?

Also, the effects can influence the "feel" of the track... I often play off of them.

I usually do not include Reverb though, as I find it helps allow the guitar tracks to better share the "space" with the other instruments.

Since using the Axe Fx, I almost always also record DI tracks, too... But I've never used them ;)
 
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